Breathing space

Is that a smackdown of White Plains in Vanity Fair’s September Style issue or what? In her profile of André Leon Talley, “one of the top arbiters of the fashion world,” Vanessa Grigoriadis writes that Talley “is often assumed to be leading a life of glamour amid fresh-cut flowers at the Carlyle hotel or perhaps at a modest Connecticut estate near Oscar de la Renta’s. But instead he has lived in nearby White Plains, a bedroom community with a ring of 1920s homes around an ugly downtown and housing projects, for the last 15 years.”

She goes on to quote Talley pal (and former WAG subject) George Malkemus III , CEO of Manolo Blahnik, U.S.A., as saying, “At one point, André could have lived in Manhattan, in a huge loft in Tribeca, or an apartment uptown – but now I don’t know where he would put the rooms and rooms and rooms of clothes.”

So we guess if nothing else, White Plains has a lot of closet space.

OK, so it’s not Paris and it is a bit incongruous given Talley’s vaunted status as a premier fashionisto, (although Grigoriadis does add that Talley lives amid a pastoral setting in a house that features a couch that once belonged to Truman Capote and a serene garden). But even tonier neighbor Scarsdale seems to fail the Grigoriadis’ sniff test in the article’s opening:

“There is perhaps no more unlikely milieu to observe André Leon Talley than the Scarsdale branch of Balducci’s food market, about 30 miles north of Manhattan, but it was there that Talley…arranged to meet for lunch.”

Translation: She had to schlep all the way up to the boondocks to do the story. Good thing she’s not writing about Everest.

Still, there are those, like up-and-coming designer Rolando Santana, who have called White Plains home for years. Noting all the creative types in Westchester, Santana says that at the end of a crazy busy day in Manhattan, you want to detach.

White Plains affords him breathing space, dream space.

And lest we forget, closet space.

For more on Rolando Santana, his Neiman Marcus looks and his spring collection, bowing during Fashion Week downtown next month, check out WAG’s September “Ragtime” issue.

– Georgette Gouveia

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